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Tonight, We Dine On The Virgin Mary
Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Dear Uncanny Image of the Virgin Mary:

I’ve noticed you have a thing lately for appearing to people in the form of their foodstuffs. A St. Louis man, for instance, recently discovered your likeness in the greasy drip pan of his signature George Foreman Grill. Only days before that, workers in a California chocolate factory discovered a Mary-like figure—that’s you: you’re Mary—born of misshapen chocolate drippings. Finally, who can forget the famous Virgin Mary grilled cheese sandwich—as old as the JonBenet case, and yet, ten years and thousands of dollars later, still just as fresh?

If you’d only pulled this stunt once or twice, it would be easy for me and my fellow Americans to shrug this off as mere coincidence. After all, faces appear in our food all the time. Just last week, I saw former New York City Mayor David Dinkins swimming in my soup. But surely you’ve heard the expression, “Fool me twice with uncanny images of the Virgin Mary, shame on you. Fool me three or more times with uncanny images of the Virgin Mary, shame on me.” And I’m afraid that’s what we’re up against with all these uncanny images of the Virgin Mary here. I’ve been fooled before. I won’t get fooled again.

Unlike the rest of the media, I’m done tossing softballs. Other reporters want to give you a pass. But me? I think it’s time to start asking the tough questions. No more weak-kneed queries along the lines of, “Is it or isn’t it an image of Mary?” The media want to simplify the issue in order to mislead the public, but I say it’s time to grill you—metaphorically speaking—and let the people be the judge.

So here goes.

1. Question number one. Why food? I understand you want to get through to people and send them a message, but wouldn’t it be easier just to leave them a Post-It note?

2. Speaking of which, how come every Post-It notepad I ever buy disappears after I use it two times? Where are all those little yellow notepads running off to? Is there a warehouse where you’re storing them somewhere? Is that the same place where you’re keeping all my socks?

3. Suppose it makes sense for you to appear in people’s food. Are those people then supposed to eat that food? I would think, as the Mother of God, you’d prefer us to eat the food you appear on instead of wasting it or selling it back and forth to each other. There are kids on this planet who are lucky when they even have food—face or no face on it.

4. If we eat food with your face on it, would that make us cannibals?

5. Is cannibalism a sin?

6. Can a vegetarian be a cannibal, since they’re technically not eating animals?

7. Was Jesus a vegetarian? Also, was he cool?

8. Sometimes my Kellogg’s Rice Krispies talk to me. Should I believe it when Snap, Crackle, and Pop claim to be the three wise men?

9. How do we know that edible images of the Virgin Mary are really the Virgin Mary? Couldn’t it be some other Mary? Maybe it’s Meredith Baxter Birney. I wouldn’t be surprised.

10. Sometimes I see images of Bill O’Reilly on my television. They look and talk just like him. Should I take that as a sign?

11. In 1989, Pizza Hut sold special “futuristic” sunglasses to promote Back to the Future, Part II. Did you see where I put mine? I can’t find them. Can you tell me where they are?

12. Can you see people when they go in the bathroom?

13. If you can see them in the bathroom, do you watch or close your eyes?

14. I don’t think you should watch people in the bathroom. This isn’t really a question. Just an opinion I figured I’d share with you.

15. Instead of food, have you ever considered, say, appearing on a painting of the Virgin Mary?

16. Follow-up question. Suppose you appeared on such a painting. How would you do it? Would it be like that gimmick from Conan O’Brien where they use a picture of someone and make their eyes and mouth move? Or would it be more like a small Virgin Mary appearing on the face of the painted Virgin Mary?

17. Am I going to hell for asking these questions?

18. How come David Hasselhoff keeps appearing on slices of baloney?

19. Do you think it’s weird that a couple of Prophet cartoons cause Muslims all over the world to riot, yet a chocolate Virgin Mary causes factory workers in California to pray?

20. I’m thinking of a number between 1 and 3. What is it?

21. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear Inside the Actors Studio host James Lipton say when they turn him away at the Pearly Gates?

22. Would you show up in my dinner tomorrow if I promise to split the money?

No further questions. Thank you and good night.

Jonathan David Morris is the author of Versus Nurture. Like him on Facebook at facebook.com/readjdm.

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